Innovator John Wu
Co-founder and chief executive officer of Gryphon Online Safety, a 17-employee startup in San Diego
Form and function
An Oct. 21 cyber attack that disrupted major U.S. websites and broadband providers targeted typically unsecured devices such as home routers and connected appliances. The Gryphon Wi-Fi router is designed to block such attacks.
When the Gryphon is plugged into a broadband modem, its software monitors smart thermostats, webcams, and other internet-connected devices for unusual activity, like the kind of traffic spike that would precipitate a brute-force cyber attack. It also scans ordinary traffic with antivirus tools.
Wu, who led the creation of the wireless hotspot MiFi at Novatel Wireless, founded Gryphon in 2014 with MiFi software manager Arup Bhattacharya.
Gryphon has raised about $950,000 from MayOne Ventures and individual investors, including the founders. A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign aims to raise at least $50,000 by Dec. 9.
Gryphon is targeted primarily at consumers, especially those with children. Wu also anticipates demand from schools and small businesses.
The company developed a prototype last year and plans to begin mass production in May, with shipments to start in June.
The router’s proprietary software quarantines suspect smart devices, filters out viruses before they can infect computers, and prevents users from clicking on websites containing malware.
Gryphon is offering $149 preorders on Kickstarter until Dec. 9. The device will retail for $199, not including an antivirus subscription fee, typically starting at $40 a year. Cybersecurity expert Matti Kon, CEO of InfoTech Solutions for Business in New York, says there’s a clear need for the router. “Today it’s commonplace for individuals to work remotely, usually from home, on unsecured networks,” he says. “This is a dangerous hole that needs to be plugged.”